This one is a solo trip back to Oax City. I arrive at night. It’s raining and I immediately lose my cell phone getting out of the collectivo.
Back to the 90’s. Internet cafes and florescent lit phone booths.
The first trip was for inspiration, and now that we are close to opening the new store in Austin, here I am, back in Mexico!
I wake up to fireworks. The Daily Party in Oaxaca City!
NAVIGATING THE MARKETS, EXPLORING THE STREETS &
NEGOTIATING WITH MARQUERITA
By now we have made it through the biggest and craziest Abastos Market and are ready to check out some others.
We also want to visit some cooperatives who sell indigenous crafts. We are dying for some good street food, and we need to find Jack, my son, a bow and arrow.
First Stop: CASA DE CAMBIO to cash in our boring dollars for these beautiful Frida ones
This is my favorite lady. Her food was so good you could cry. I am sitting here now tearing up thinking that she is there and I am here.
NEXT, TRY TO FIND MERCADO DE LAS ARTESENIAS Y JUAREZ
Reminder: Neither of us can actually find anything unless it is accidentally.
Viva La Corn.
It is the first day of our self guided, three day tour of Oaxaca City. We head to the huge and bustling Mercado Abastos in search of the perfect huipile, textlie or hammock or some lead on something strange and beautiful. This market must span over several city blocks. Outside, vendors and taxis and buses bound for all over the state idle and zoom by. A caller hangs precariously at the doors of the buses singing to passengers before he is swallowed up and carried away to his final destination. It is hot, the air is filled with fumes. I am jazzed. It takes me back to all the travels, all the markets. It smells like…like some home that resides in me. I can’t wait to go inside the belly of this beast.
Oaxacan Breakfasting. I needed a coke!
Today, we hit the streets. We head to the markets. First stop: Mercado Abastos.
Casa de Cambio
I often think of naming my shop LA SUPER MICHOACANA
The two mile walk to the market is filled with color and chaos, great storefronts, crazy shops, super traffic and inspirations everywhere!
My friend Susana agrees to be my Companera for a Oaxaca City scouting/buying trip. Its going to be an adventure! Luckily, Susana speaks fluent Spanish, loves street food, can shop all day and drink micheladas all night. Here we are on the tram at Houston lobby airport after a very bumpy flight, on our way to Oaxaca City, Mexico. The flight from Austin to Houston was announced as running a bit late due to some broken seat belts from turbulence. Awesome. It was like riding a bull. (Thanks, Carla for the happy flight tablets) Our spirits are high here, considering the flight. We know what lies ahead. Our MISSION: meet artisans with whom we can establish working relationships with, find beautiful and rare things for the Austin JM DRY GOODS shop, eat great food and have fun doing all of it. Now, on to Oaxaca!!
Reading my baedecker on the tiny plane to Oaxaca. Smooth sailing, sweet, hushed Spanish conversations, beautiful views down below.
We fly through the sunset and arrive at a blue dusk. Only a 2 1/2 hour flight takes us to another world altogether. We disembark, walk down the staircase of the plane and immediately feel the night air, balmy but chilly, the smell of something….flowers and dirt and dampness and air.
Susana and I throw our bags into a cab and take the 20 minute ride through the industrial streets, crowded with colorful trucks, street vendors, markets… into the center of the cobble stone town. Susana pushes her face out of the window and pulls in a deep breath, “flowers!” We smell flowers.
We are staying at the lovely former convent of Santa Catalina, Hotel Camino Real. Massive faded pink walls dripping with blooms, secluded courtyards overflowing with flowery vines and tropical trees, birds of paradise and bougainvillea, soaring ceilings and archways painted with frescoes, a big blue pool, an ancient fountain used by nuns to wash their clothing, luxurious rooms with balconies….relaxed, old world…
We are starving! We grab some shawls (it’s in the 50s!), throw on jeans and go out into the night looking for wine and food. We find a rooftop cafe overlooking the stunning Templo de Santo Domingo.
We are served Victoria beers and soup in coconut bowls filled with a spicy, sweet, seafood broth and heated with sizzling hot stones.
Tired and happy, we try to find our hotel again in the dark, and in our slightly drunken state…ready to fall into the big white bed. Turns out, we both have a hopeless sense of direction! Calle Cinco de Mayo! No te preocupes!
Pals Whitney Joiner and Ginger Griffice (Marfa Brands soap and glassware maven) and I headed down to Ojinaga, Chihuahua to cover a story about the store and G’s line for an on-line mag SIGHT UNSEEN. I needed to get Cazuela’s for Chef Rocky for the Ballroom opening of In Lieu of Unity, matches and candles for a couple of upcoming weddings and of course an overdue shrimp cocktail at Sinaloa. We discovered some great stuff. We met some great people. Here is what we found… Enjoy! We did.